One Voice is a five year old policy research and training organization born out of the work undertaken by the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP in response to housing, education, civil rights and other needs facing historically disadvantaged communities in the wake of the 2005 hurricanes. That work revealed gaping holes in the non- profit sector across the Gulf Coast, including the lack of easily available research and policy analysis, trained and connected community leadership, and community- based structures through which broad public involvement could be organized and sustained.

As a result, One Voice was created, and we exist specifically to add statewide capacity and community participation in formal and informal debates impacting a wide range of critical issues affecting vulnerable and marginalized communities. Our mission therefore, is to enhance civic engagement in the formation of public policy through non-partisan leadership development, research support, base-building, and technical assistance for advocacy group associations, elected officials and community based organizations with the purpose of improving the quality of life for African Americans and other disenfranchised communities in the states of Mississippi and Louisiana. One Voice is proud to announce the regional expansion into Louisiana to bring together those same elements to create system level change at the state level.

In order to effectively reform old systems, it is clear that public policy has to become more knowledge based and connected to the circumstances of vulnerable communities and those leaders elected to serve them. One Voice Louisiana launched in 2010 to provide targeted policy analysis capacity with respect to vulnerable and marginalized communities. Consequently, policy makers, advocates and others who seek to achieve adequate and equitable state policies and programs are handicapped by the absence of important data analysis and an informed, movable base. Ultimately, contributing to a fragmented approach to advocacy where organizations do not coordinate or see the opportunities for leverage. There are so many examples where progressive leaders and community activist lacked the data, analysis and relationship required to inform a win-win solution to structural problems.

One Voice is proud of the work it was able to do during the Redistricting and Regular Legislative Sessions. Essentially, One Voice serves as a policy organization focused on advancing equitable development in partnership with vulnerable and marginalized communities in Louisiana. In short, we hope to build upon and nurture the organizing, advocacy and planning that communities have pursued since the storms.

Proposed Activities and Key Components

One Voice proposes to embark upon a multi-step process that involves understanding multiple layers of data, conducting key dialogues with leaders, and assessing the civic infrastructure to create a shared dialogue on how power moves within the state and the ability of community to affect it. As the seven-year anniversary of hurricane Katrina approaches, One Voice is hopeful that effective power mapping will lead to strategic campaigns and act as a catalyst for understanding our greatest opportunities for impact. One Voice seeks to maneuver within local and state politics, and partner with a diverse set of stakeholders such as advocacy groups, community development organizations, organizing groups, educational institutions, local, state and federal agencies as well as both local and national philanthropy.

One Voice is committed to community voice and power and supporting their efforts to develop a comprehensive agenda to advance equity throughout the state.

One Voice will pursues its program goals by:

1) Data and Research: Enhancing decision-making capacity with superior, transparent data and evaluative tools to drive more equitable decision-making for investment, planning and policy efforts in Louisiana. Data is a key element of the process of understanding power, opportunity and access.

• Develop Accessible Transparent Localized Data and tools that Drive State Policy Change & Advocacy

• Provide Consulting and Capacity Support in Research and Data Collection for Local Nonprofits and Progressive Campaigns

2) Technical Assistance Support: Support nonprofit organizations as they develop diverse agendas that can be used by progressive community leaders to ensure that their work will have maximum impact on vulnerable and marginalized communities. One Voice seeks to connect and accelerate the policy advocacy efforts of community based nonprofits by giving voice to their policy interests, connecting them to regional and national resources and introducing tools that support system change.

• Provide issue-Specific Trainings for Core Constituencies (i.e. Criminal Justice, Housing, Environment, etc.)

• Provide skill-Based Trainings for Core Constituencies (i.e. Power Mapping, Strategic Communications, etc.)

• Provide tools and expertise to emerging and or existing campaigns

3) Civic Engagement Infrastructure: Infusing the civic Infrastructure with best practices, models and tools is another key element to the work. This includes the creation of spaces where community leaders can express the nuanced ways in which their work is impacted by legislation, isolation, lack of collaboration and spaces to come together to build their own power by accessing resources like the VAN (The Voter Activation Network is a premier database solution for partner nonprofits for intuitive and powerful management of voters.

• Supporting networks and coalitions engage in changing the political landscape in Louisiana (i.e. voter engagement, redistricting, census, etc…)

• Building common infrastructure through shared tools learning and communication strategies